A Quick, Crazy, Evil and Violating Thing

It happened in a coat-check closet of a banquet hall of all places. I was happy to see a large mirror in it when I walked in to hang my coat. I’m always checking to see if I have lipstick on my teeth, it’s a thing with me. There were people coming in and out, but I made my way and stood in front of the mirror, checking my teeth first, and then proceeded to fix my hair a little bit. A guy I briefly made eye contact with standing in line suddenly appeared and bumped against me from behind. Before my mind could grasp what was happening, my body sensed something was very wrong. He maneuvered as if someone has pushed him in my direction, but that wasn’t the case. He pleasured himself and violated me in that instance. It happened so fast that I couldn’t calculate it, and when I turned around, he was gone.

When I returned to my seat, the look on my face indicated that something was wrong, and my friend was concerned. She asked me what happened, but I couldn’t get the words right. I tried to explain, but my explanation didn’t make sense. I shook my head, which she took to mean that she should just let it be, but really it signaled my overwhelming sense of disbelief.

I did what so many do when they are victimized in this way, I questioned myself a million times in a million different ways. There was nothing unusual or suggestive in the eye contact I made with this man, yet, I still questioned myself repeatedly. It’s an old habit from childhood that, for me, has been challenging to break. Children who grow up in abusive homes sometimes blame themselves for the abuse they suffer. They desperately want to be loved and will do anything to keep believing in their parents; even to the point of faulting themselves.

Intellectually, I knew this thing wasn’t my fault, but old programming got the better of me. It was a quick, crazy, evil and violating thing that happened, but at the time, it was something I had never heard of. So, I didn’t tell anyone what happened, fearing they might not believe me. I was used to suffering in silence, and that’s what I did. As time went on, what I began to understand is that the painful and silent thing has a voice, and it speaks in ways that our mouths could never articulate. My anger and sorrow about what happened to me manifested itself in physical ailments, extreme sadness at times, and a neglect of self.

I had a few mountains in my life in the past, and this violation became another one that I needed to conquer. I was sinking, becoming more bitter and angry, and I decided that instead of continuing to drown in my emotional pain, I would dive deeper into the Lord than I had before.  

1Peter 1:6-7(NLT) says, “6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” God doesn’t cause our problems and tribulations, but He will always help us through them, strengthening our faith and making us stronger than before.

Some people will do evil things. They will take the free-will gift of God and do horrendously vile deeds with it. As much as we’d all probably like to forget this, we can’t. But we don’t have to focus on it. Instead, we can focus on the reality that God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to save us. We mean this much to Him, and because of what He’s done for us through Christ, we have a choice. We don’t have to let those who refuse to know God’s love destroy our desire to live by it.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14(NLT), God said that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek Him, and turn away from wrongdoing, He’ll hear our prayers; He’ll forgive our sins and restore us. Yes, we get knocked down, and sometimes it’s a pretty hard hit, but God is a healer of brokenness. If we allow His Spirit to work within our hearts, and be willing to surrender bitterness and anger to Him, we will always get back up stronger and more determined to live love through the power of His strength.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“A Quick, Crazy, Evil and Violating Thing”  
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Nothing Stays Hidden for Long

A friend of mind would drive herself nuts with hair and make-up. It was beyond anything I’d ever seen. She’d fall for every new trend and claim about the secret to beauty and youth, and she bought an insane amount of products; most of which she never used. Her hair was always impeccable, every strand seemingly in place. Many of us are more than a little conscious regarding our appearance, but she seemed obsessive and just about everyone close to her knew that something wasn’t quite right. The pressure to look perfect often caused her to be emotionally distraught because she couldn’t meet the unachievable standards that she had set for herself. Sometimes, when we’re overly consumed with one area of our lives in this way, it is because we’re neglecting another. When the area we’re neglecting is spiritual, we’re moving in really dangerous territory.

When insecurities play out through obsessiveness, it could be tied to our need to fill a void. None of us like hearing this because it means we have to confront some things internally, and soul-work is not always easy work. One thing is for sure, we only live on this earth once, and if we’re going to make the most of it, we’re going to have address the things that hold us back. Blockers not only keep us from experiencing the life we’re entitled to live, but they cause us to lose precious momentum on this journey. No matter how much we try to avoid dealing with them, God designed life in such a way that the lessons of surrender and release will be on repeat until we either get them or die.

We’ve tried convincing my friend of her attractiveness, telling her she doesn’t need procedures and other things. She’d quickly change the subject, ignore our comments, or become frustrated. The words we spoke were a whisper compared to the loudness of her shame and insecurity. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin consciousness entered their psyche. No one knows exactly how long they had lived prior to eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but once they did, time entered the picture and so did death, fear, and shame. We know this because before they disobeyed God, Genesis 2:25(KJV) tells us, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”  After they sinned, Genesis 3:6(NLT) says, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.”

This clearly allows us to see that shame is felt when something we want to hide is exposed. What ends up happening is that many of us will deflect, ignore, change the subject or do worse to make sure the hidden thing stays this way. It’s painful. We don’t want to feel it, and we don’t want others to get near it. The thing about life is that we’re here on this earth to learn some lessons that are uniquely crafted for each of our individual spiritual journeys. We can try to run, but we definitely can’t hide from them. If we don’t summon the courage to confront what we haven’t conquered, sooner or later, our inner pain will be exposed, and most of the time it ain’t pretty.

Make no mistake, God’s Word tells us we’re born with sin in our bodies, and we’re born into a sinful world. A lifetime isn’t long enough to confront every dark thing in our souls, because all of us have junk in our trunks. But to the extent that we’re so consumed with licking our wounds and feeding our insecurities that we’re not moving forward in our purpose; we’ve got to deal with the issue.

A person’s purpose is tied to the very core of who they were created to be. It’s woven in God’s plan for the entire universe, and everything in creation knows when we’re out of alignment with it. This is why God’s divine design exposes darkness, so that it can be brought to the light. Jesus Christ said in Luke 8:17(NLT), “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” You can’t conquer what you refuse to confront. God doesn’t expect us to deal with it by ourselves, because we can’t. He wants us to invite His love to do a work within, so we don’t have to continue ducking and hiding. We can let the thing that keeps us from loving fully to come front and center, so we can surrender it and accept the love of Christ in its place. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Nothing Stays Hidden for Long”  
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

“Clean-Up” Women with Dirty Hearts

Growing up, I knew a group of women who never waited for permission to go after what they wanted. This was especially true when it came to men. It really didn’t matter all that much whether the man was married or in a relationship. If they took a fancy or the man seemed interested, they’d do whatever it took to take him from the woman he was with. Their mentality about this was cavalier to say the least. They figured if the woman wasn’t on top of her game, doing everything she could to keep the man satisfied and happy at home, she deserved to have him swept up by another woman. In an odd way, I marveled at the dichotomy of these women. On the surface they were very unassuming, and at times quite nice; but boy could they be ruthless. And the fact that they were not beautiful or particularly well-versed made the results of their audacity even more uncanny.

They were known as “clean-up” women, no doubt because of the cutthroat way they swept up a man, and did so to such a degree that not even a hint of him was left for his ex. When I think of them now, I think of what God says in Jeremiah 17:9(NLT), “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” These women were both insidious in their motives and actions. I would hear my grandmother say of them, “God don’t like ugly.” She was not referring to the aesthetics of their faces, but the content of their character and the way they disregarded families, children, and the mothers and wives who had struggled to hold it all together.

The ‘clean-up’ women in my town had many children and raised their girls to employ the same tactics they had used themselves. Other women that I knew feared they might have their husbands and boyfriends swept up. As I grew older, I inherited the same sort of fear. Long after I moved away from my hometown, I became ever so aware that clean-up women were not restricted to the area where I was raised. I dare say, they are in every town and city, sucking up leftovers and crumbs from what used to be a feast of matrimonial unity, and they leave no trace of Christian sisterhood in their wake.

Because of some of the devastation I saw, loyalty in a man was something I knew I had to have in a mate. I became relentless about it, and any sign of infidelity on his part was an immediate termination for me. I just couldn’t deal. The premise behind my stance is a good one, because God doesn’t want any of His children being treated disrespectfully, but the motivating factor for my stance was fear. It was the fear of being swindled out of my happiness by another woman’s selfish agenda. I had seen it happen many times, and I was adamant not to allow it to touch my life in any way.

Job, a righteous man who lived in Old Testament times, endured tremendous hardship in his life. In Job 3:25(NLT), he said, “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” Fear brings a snare. Proverbs 29:25 tells us that fearing people is a dangerous trap. It draws out the very situations and circumstances we don’t want. Fear does not come from the Kingdom of God, it comes from the kingdom of satan, who is the father of lies, deceit, death, darkness, and hate. God tells us in 1John 4:18 that there is no fear in love, because perfect love will cast out fear; it will squash it. God’s love is perfect. His love is the glue that binds a relationship together in Christ, and it is the safety net that surrounds a family with impenetrable unity. Our responsibility is to have unwavering faith in God’s love, and the only way to do this is to learn about who He is.

God tells us in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge. They are not interested in knowing more about His love, power, and grace. This is what leaves them exposed to the clean-up tricks of those sent by the evil one. The verse in Proverbs 29:25 warns us not to fear people, but to trust God because this brings safety. It doesn’t mean that our relationships will be perfect. People make mistakes, and sometimes men lose their senses and think for a minute that the grass is greener on the other side, but we serve a powerful and extraordinary God. No problem is too big for Him. We can’t be so concerned about someone cleaning-up where they’ve got no business. Our focus should be locked on keeping our own hearts free of fear and full of faith, so that we can continue to grow in Christ. We must be confident that if we do our part, God will most certainly do His.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Clean-Up” Women with Dirty Hearts”  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!


Choosing the Right Person

One of the most valuable lessons in life is learning the importance of allowing God’s direction and guidance in our significant relationships. Most of us don’t think we need any help in this area, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s an integral piece of our overall lives and hugely impacts our relationship with God. Choosing the wrong person will cause us to lose time, resources, and momentum on this journey. Resources and momentum we can regain, but time is lost forever. There’s also the potential injury to our souls, and possibly the other person’s, that could occur when we’ve chosen poorly. In a perfect scenario, we’d ascertain rather quickly whether the person we’re jonesing for isn’t our destiny partner, and we’d cut’em loose with no animosity whatsoever. We’d wish them well and send them on their way with God’s grace. For many of us, that ain’t the case.

We latch on and make emotional investments into people because they have within them something that moves us. But just because someone moves us soulfully, it doesn’t mean they’re our soulmates. Many of us are so busy responding to the situations of our lives that we haven’t taken the time to truly know ourselves better. We haven’t taken out our trusty tools of exploration like brutal honesty and truth to go soul digging beyond the surface. So, nine times out of ten, we respond strongly to someone and go all in, when all they’ve done is simply skimmed the surface of our souls. They’ve touched a note, but haven’t a clue about the whole song, and neither do we.  

Jesus Christ said in John 3:16 (NLT), “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Because of the finished work of Christ, you and I are eternal beings through him. This means we’ll be around for a really, really, really long time. There are parts of us we’ve never known. Our spirits were made brand new in Christ, and a lifetime on earth isn’t enough to explore the wonder of our new creation. We couldn’t possibly get to the depth of all that we are, but God knows us through and through. David, the psalmist, wrote in Psalm 139:1-5(NLT): “1O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

God saw our end before we ever got started. He’s mapped out a plan for us that lays a foundation for you and I to get better and stronger—to tap into the depth of our greatness in Christ, to bask and make ourselves at home in his goodness and love. He’ll prevent us from intercepting this flow if we’ll humble ourselves before Him.

It takes humility to pause and consider the possibility that we’re about to bust a move that’s not in tune with God’s plan. Many us begin relationships without giving this a second thought. Jesus Christ teaches us that the quality of humility is a non-negotiable one when it comes to the Kingdom of God. No matter our ages, we are all children to Heavenly Father, because this is what He created us to be. Make no mistake, we’re extremely intelligent and capable creatures. Ephesians 2:10(NLT) tells us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God calls us His greatest work, but we must always remember that the creation isn’t greater than the Creator. When we get this twisted, humility goes out the window.

When we cross paths with a person that is right for us, God will confirm it many times if we are patient and humbled enough to seek Him and accept His wisdom. He is very interested in our relationships, and He desires us to be happy. He knows exactly what we need to fulfill our purpose and walk the path of destiny He’s laid before us. Humility begs us to not always trust our hearts but to trust the Lord! Job 12:13(NLT) declares, “But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” He will never steer us wrong.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Choosing the Right Person”  
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Dissipating the Dark Cloud of Sadness

“The human spirit can endure a sick body,
but who can bear a crushed spirit?”
Proverbs 18:14 (NLT)

Anyone who has taken steps to heal wounds left from the trauma of domestic violence and abuse can speak to the residual emotional pain it causes. A person can move past the situations and conditions where they were exposed to abuse. We can put it long behind us, but this doesn’t mean that we’re healed and delivered from the effects of it. You can be doing your own thing, going about your humdeedumdum business, and all of a sudden, “WHAMMM!!!” It hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s an avalanche of heaviness that looms over your life like a dark cloud, and it just knocks you for a loop. You can’t shake it, and you can’t explain why you feel so bad.

It is almost unheard of to expect a child, 4 or 5 years of age, to lead a company of soldiers into combat or to go to work every day and support an entire family. Most mature and intelligent individuals understand these are unreasonable expectations for a person so young. It is, however, conceivable that a child could have the mental prowess for extraordinary accomplishments, but he or she wouldn’t have the emotional or physical development to carry out such things. Most of us can certainly fathom the absurdity in placing overwhelming burdens on a young one, but when it comes to the overburdening that we have experienced ourselves, some of us are not nearly as compassionate as we should be.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” One of the reasons that millions fall madly in love with Jesus Christ is because the record of him in the bible testifies of his goodness. He walked upon this earth being both fully human and fully God. He’s our High Priest, and Hebrews 4:15 says that he was tempted in every way that a human can be, but never sinned. This verse tells us that he understands what we go through. He has intimate knowledge of our weaknesses and shortcomings.

Jesus Christ is brilliant and supremely intelligent. He would not tell us to do something unless it is absolutely necessary for us to get it done. He knows that we’re going to go through things in life that will completely overwhelm our mental and emotional resources. He also knows that the burden of those experiences is too much for us to carry. As a way of preserving ourselves, many of us buried those feelings long ago. We pressed them down deep and may not have realized we did this. The thing is, nothing stays buried unless it’s dead. Residual pain and sadness from traumatic experiences doesn’t die. It must be released, and this is a process that our Lord and Savior will help us walk through.

For years too many to number, believers have suffered sadness in silence. Many were too ashamed to speak their own personal truth about what they’ve endured, and for some, pain is buried so deep that they’re unable to call a spade a spade. Like me, they wake up one morning not wanting to face the day and not knowing why. If you’ve suffered prior abuse or any traumatic event and you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness, it is very important that you know it’s possible to dissipate the dark cloud over your life. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. My prayer is that you will ask the Lord Jesus Christ for help and trust him to divinely connect you with people, relationships, and resources that will bring you into the light and help you stay there.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Dissipating the Dark Cloud of Sadness”  
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Sometimes, You Just Gotta’ Be A Ninja

As I stood behind the podium in front of people from various religious backgrounds, I made a statement that is central to the core of who I am as a believer. “We cannot be the same people we were two years ago, two months ago, or two weeks ago. We must be always growing and abounding in Christ—responding to the new mercies of God that greet us every morning.” When I wrote this statement some days before, I believed it to be revolutionary; because discovering the revelation of it truly had been life changing for me. I was in church all my life. I was surrounded by a wonderful community of people who I believed were genuinely committed to me and the other youths they mentored. But as an adult, I became very weary of sameness. I believed there was so much more to life in the Spirit than what I had personally and previously witnessed. I yearned to see God’s power phenomenally manifested in my life, and when it showed up for me, I couldn’t help but tell it.

Standing there, looking at those who had just heard my words, I expected to sense in my spirit a pulling for more. It’s the spirit to spirit tugging that occurs when the souls of folks are captivated. It happens when people hear words that they’ve been waiting to hear all their lives. But as I gazed about, and checked my radar for take-off, it became blatantly clear that they were not willing to travel with me. In fact, most looked at me as if I had two heads. Only just starting out back then, I was bruised and a little bit embarrassed, but the Lord was not finished with me. In truth He had just begun. It took me a while to snap back after this incident, but the Lord was patient, and I continued to pursue Him for more.

This happened some years ago, but we live in an environment that is quite different today. We no longer have the luxury of settling into a posture of letting disappointment run its course. Everything in the world is moving at an accelerated pace, and God is up to something; most of us can feel this in our spirits. What does it all mean? Well, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Hebrew 12:1 that God has given us some fantastic examples of faith to emulate. He tells us that since the Father has given us these extraordinary witnesses, we’d better strip off every weight that slows us down, because like them, God’s given us a race to run. No time to play around because this race is heating up. Our only option is to heat up with it. We’ve got to get busy making sure we’re responding to what the Father is doing.  

The whole business of being an earth-dweller is to respond to God as the sons and daughters He’s made us. When I first understood this years ago, I was excited as all get out! It was thrilling to learn that I’m not here to rest on my laurels in a take-it-as-it-comes existence. In John 5:17,19(NLT) Jesus Christ said, “17 My Father is always working, and so am I. 19 I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” This is our mission—our modus operandi. It takes humility in the form of flexibility to respond to God, because we’ve got to do what we see Him doing. He’s calling upon each of us to break out of sameness and look up. If we don’t, we’re going to miss out.

Time is of the essence. Heavenly Father whispered in our ears years ago to get rid of some things—to do a Jiu Jitsu on those old fears, toxic relationships, and negative habit patterns, so we can respond to Him with the love He deserves. Many of us haven’t done it. And the reason is because we are so strapped in to who we think we should be that we’re not becoming who God destined us to be. We’re out of synch with our identities, and everything around us is a reminder of this. Don’t let the roots of old dead things continue to suck up your good energy. Sometimes, you just gotta be a ninja. Chop em’ off and do it quickly so newness can bloom. Get rid of that stuff. You’ve got a race to run, and you shouldn’t let anything keep you from being all that God has destined you to be. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Sometimes, You Just Gotta’ Be A Ninja”  
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Achieving Inner Peace

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)

I met Ms. Sharon when I was a teenager, visiting my aunt during the summer months in Denver, Colorado. I fell in love with her from the moment I saw her. She reminded me of my aunts back home, and boy could sister-girl throw down in the kitchen. Her fried chicken was everything. Ms. Sharon was my cousin’s sitter in the evenings when his mom worked, and anyone who knew him would think this the most unenviable job of all. I had never known a more mischievous boy than my cousin, Zach. Once, while he visited family down south, he made my Aunt Eula so mad that she pushed aside her walker and chased him around the entire house. After meeting Ms. Sharon, I thought surely he would have driven her crazy too, but as the days went on, I witnessed the most remarkable thing. He was still a little rascal, but around her he was kitten; doing everything orderly, just as she instructed. In my eyes, this was a bona fide miracle.

I didn’t know what Ms. Sharon had, but I wanted some of it. As I got older and matured, I often thought of her example. There was grace in even her mundaneness, and everything about her seemed to exude peace. I never heard her raise her voice with Zach, and this was a response he provoked from just about everyone else, and he enjoyed it; but not with Ms. Sharon. She had what so many proclaim to possess, but never quite walk in it. She had authority, because she truly believed that the love of Christ is at the center of it. The peace of God effortlessly flowed from her being and demanded everything around her to fall in alignment; even Zach.  

Philippians 4:7(NIV) says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Peace is defined as having a steadiness of mind and heart regardless of external disturbances. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling to have this level of peace. Often, it is because we don’t go to the Source. God’s peace transcends ALL understanding. We can’t reason with it or try to squeeze the heft of its calm into our little boxes of logic. God’s peace requires a surrender—a total surrender, and this means that the flesh doesn’t get its way.

We can’t have faith and fear at the same time. And we can’t have inner peace and chaos at the same time. We, you and I, have to make a choice. Either we’re going to believe that God wants us to be peaceful, and that He’ll work in our hearts and minds to bring us His peace, or we won’t. If we choose God’s peace, then we’re going to have to trust that He sees all and knows best. He’ll lead us on a peaceful path. Not choosing this path is where some of us run into serious trouble.

Everything isn’t going to be rosy all the time. Jesus Christ didn’t promise that it would be. We don’t get to do all the things the flesh finds pleasurable. I’m sure Ms. Sharon could have thought of a million other things she’d rather be doing than sitting with Zach each day, but she knew she was called by God to care for him—to invest in his life, and to make sure he understood that someone believed in his potential.

Heavenly Father proved that He wants us to live a good life. He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, and he is the best that can be given. God wants the best for us; this is undeniable. He’ll only tell us to do those things that promote peace and well-being in our lives. The prophet said in Isaiah 26:3(NLT), “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Often inner chaos comes because we’re not trusting God or doing the things that He’s told us to do. But if we’ll anchor our minds and surrender to the path of His perfect peace, we will see that everything in our lives will begin to follow.■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Achieving Inner Peace” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!